Amsterdam sewer line still leaking sewage into the Mohawk River

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A massive sewer break has been spilling raw sewage into a major waterway.

The DEC estimates the leak has been ongoing for more than 600 hours.

Crews are still out on Forest Avenue in Amsterdam, working to fix the problem.

For three weeks, a break in a sewer line has dumped raw sewage into a nearby stream that feeds into the Mohawk River. Crews are working around the clock, hoping to get it fixed by the end of the week.

When the leak started, the DEC estimates sewage was spilling at a rate of 50 gallons per minute. A new report shows it has slowed to 25 gallons per minute but has not yet stopped.

Crews are working on the final stretch of replacing the 600 foot pipe that broke. They have just about 100 feet of work left to do on the sewer line that broke.

People who live nearby say the end of the construction can’t come soon enough.

“It’s been terrible. For the past three weeks, my bedroom window is right there and that pump is constantly going,” Bryon Bradshaw, Forest Avenue resident, said.

Bradshaw says the construction on the sewer line has been a nightmare for him.

“Day one they told us 10 days at the absolute max. It’s just been creating chaos. We can’t get into our driveway, we can’t get sleep. Nothing.”

It’s also causing problems for nearby shops.

“It’s been tough and slow for homeowners because they don’t know if we’re here or not. They assume not to come and go somewhere else,” Jeff Newell, Manager at Passono Paints, said.

Newell says business has been down but says he sees progress with the work outside the store.

“They put in the new tubing so hopefully, that will take care of the problem.”

Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa says he wants to have everything fixed by the end of the week.

“I think we’re about 100 to 120 feet down from being complete with this 600 foot replacement,” Mayor Villa said.

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a civil engineer by trade, says when it comes to replacing infrastructure under the ground, things can get tricky.

“Things happen when you start to dig underground and you don’t know what you’re going to find. Some of these service lines you don’t know where they are until you dig the hole,” Santabarbara said.

Villa assures that there is no health risk from the leak.

“I have no heard anything from the DEC about any safety risks or hazards to the public.’

Villa says this leak points to a bigger problem that’s plaguing cities like Amsterdam across the state and needs money to help fund the fixes.

“People want to see a building go up and want to see renovation,” Villa said. “However, when you’re spending $5 million below the pavement, nobody understands that is a big strain on a community such as ours.”

Crews are replacing the 100-year-old clay pipe with high-quality pipe that Assemblyman Santabarbara says is virtually indestructible.

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